Thursday, December 13, 2012

Now, Dangerous Nonsense From Robert Kennedy, Jr. and David Crane

Remember in the run-up to Hurricane Sandy I kept reminding everyone never to try to install an electrical generator yourself?

This is because generators, solar panels, and wind power generators are all complicated devices that carry a significant risk of electrical shock and death even if the power fails!

So, I agree with Anthony Watts that this story in The New York Times is dangerous. 

Some of our neighbors have taken matters into their own hands, purchasing portable gas-powered generators in order to give themselves varying degrees of “grid independence." But these dirty, noisy and expensive devices have no value outside of a power failure. And they’re not much help during a failure if gasoline is impossible to procure.
Having spent our careers in and around the power industry, we believe there is a better way to secure grid independence for our homes and businesses. (Disclosure: Mr. Crane’s company, based in Princeton, N.J., generates power from coal, natural gas, and nuclear, wind and solar energy.) Solar photovoltaic technology can significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and our dependence on the grid. Electricity-producing photovoltaic panels installed on houses, on the roofs of warehouses and big box stores and over parking lots can be wired so that they deliver power when the grid fails.
Anthony, who has considerable expertise in this area, explains why the article is dangerous. I urge you to read it if you have any thoughts about generators, solar, etc. Hire an experienced and licensed installer.

I agree -- strongly -- that it is important for people, especially if there are people in poor health in the household, for people to have a backup to the commercial electrical grid. But, if it is not done right, these wonderful tools can turn on their owners.

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